Consciously Constructing Exclusivity in the Suburbs? Unpacking a Master Planned Estate Development in Western Sydney

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Abstract

In Australia, master planned estates are emerging as a favoured form of residential development, finding support from urban planners and government. The proliferation of master planned estates has led urban researchers to comment on the socially exclusive nature of many of these new developments and their potential contribution to socio-spatial polarisation in the urban landscape. Do master planned estates purposefully inculcate an image of exclusivity, and do these constructions result in socio-spatial polarisation? A case study of the contribution of master planned estates to polarisation in the urban landscape is examined here. This research analysed the intentions, imagery and outcomes of a specific master planned estate in suburban Sydney – Glenmore Park. The established, socially constructed, and in some ways negative image of western Sydney has been used as a mirror against which an alternative – albeit exclusive and distinct – identity for Glenmore Park has been advanced. The intended image was for an exclusive and prestigious estate for white nuclear families. The developers and place marketers played a key role in the construction of this exclusivity, which ultimately superseded some of the more socially inclusive planning objectives for the area. The overriding conclusion from this research is that, in this case, there is an explicit connection between intentions and imagery, which encourages socio-spatial polarisation.

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